JAY-Z's 13th studio album produced by I.D. dropped on Friday (June 30), and there's a lot to dive into. Let's get right to it.
JAY’s mom Gloria Carter publicly comes out as a lesbian for the first time.
On "Smile," which samples Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s In Need Of Love Today,” JAY and his mom discuss her sexuality. According to the Huffington Post, it marks the first time either of them have publicly addressed it.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” he raps. “Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society shame and the pain was too much to take,” he adds before asserting, “Cried tears of joy when you fell in love / Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”
Gloria offers her take in the powerful outro:
“Living in the shadow / Can you imagine what kind of life it is to live?” she asks. “In the shadows people see you as happy and free / Because that’s what you want them to see,” she continues. “The world is changing and they say it’s time to be free / But you live with the fear of just being me... Living in the shadow feels like the safe place to be / No harm for them, no harm for me / But life is short, and it’s time to be free / Love who you love, because life isn’t guaranteed.”
JAY addresses cheating on Beyonce.
Beyonce’s Lemonade album detailed JAY’s infidelity throughout the Grammy Award winning record, and JAY has responded.
On Bey’s song “Sorry,” she sings: “Looking at my watch, he shoulda been home / Today I regret the night I put that ring on ... He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair.”
On “Family Feud” (which features background vocals from Queen Bey) Jay-Z raps: “I’ll fuck up a good thing if you let me / Let me alone Becky! / A man who don’t take care of his family can’t be rich.”
That explains why Solange attacked JAY in an elevator.
Yup, JAY touches on that too.
Beyonce played it off on the “Flawless” Remix when she sang “Of course sometimes shit goes down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator,” but truth of the matter is Solange was defending her big sister because of Jay’s infidelity.
On the opening track “Kill Jay Z,” JAY keeps it real: “You egged Solange on, knowing all along all you had to say you was wrong / You almost went Eric Benet, let the baddest girl in the world get away ... I don’t even know what you woulda done, in the future, other niggas playing football with your son.”
Eric Benet was married to Halle Berry until his cheating scandal broke up their marriage.
JAY also raps he would “probably die with all the shame” if his mistake ruined his relationship with daughter Blue Ivy Carter: “What good is a menage a trois when you have a soulmate / You risked that for Blue?”
JAY claps back at Prince’s estate on “Caught Their Eyes” featuring Frank Ocean.
JAY accuses the estate, specifically former advisor Londell McMillan, of going against Prince’s wishes with his musical catalog.
“I sat down with Prince, eye to eye / He told me his wishes before he died," he raps.
Once Prince died, his music was only available on Tidal despite legal action from his estate. "Now, Londell McMillan, he must be color blind / They only see green from them purple eyes.”
"This guy had 'Slave' on his face / You think he wanted the masters with his masters? / You greedy bastards sold tickets to walk through his house / I'm surprised you ain't auction off the casket."
Name-drop: Kanye West.
Hova rips Kanye a new one on “Kill Jay Z.” As USA Today points out, he alludes to paying Kanye $20 million to stay with TIDAL, and was thanked with a slap in the face when Kanye slammed JAY onstage during his Saint Pablo tour days before his hospitalization.
"But you ain't a Saint, this ain't KumbaYe, but you got hurt because you did cool by Ye / You gave him 20 million without blinking, he gave you 20 minutes on stage, f--k was he thinking / 'F--k wrong with everybody?' is what you saying, but if everybody's crazy, you're the one that's insane."
Name-drop: O.J. Simpson
JAY scoffs at one of O.J. Simpson's most notoriously infamous quotes in "The Story Of O.J."
"O.J. like, 'I'm not black, I'm O.J.' ... Okay," he raps.
A visual for the track, which samples Nina Simone’s “Four Women,” hits on slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, segregation, lynching, the Black Panthers and more.
Name-drop: Bill Cosby
"Al Sharpton in the mirror takin' selfies / How is him or Pill Cosby supposed to help me?"
Name-drop: La La Land
JAY pays tribute to Moonlight and takes a shot at La La Land for momentarily winning the 2017 best picture Oscar.
"We stuck in La La Land, even when we win, we gon' lose."
In his interview with iHeartRadio, JAY said: "It’s like a subtle nod to La La Land winning the Oscar, and then having to give it to Moonlight. It’s really a commentary on the culture and where we’re going."
4:44 will be made available on iTunes / Apple Music... eventually.
Tidal subscribers / and Sprint customers get first dibs, but in a week, the LP will find its way onto Apple Music, Billboard confirms.
Have YOU streamed 4:44 yet? You should. It's really great.